At the Global Biodiversity Informatics Conference (GBIC) held in Copenhagen, Denmark earlier this month, experts from around the globe agreed on key priorities for using information technologies and social networks to help understand life on Earth.
The focus of the work is on “how biodiversity can continue to sustain human lives and livelihoods.”
Information networks support and permeate nearly every aspect of our daily lives in areas such as banking, commerce and entertainment. We still do not have this kind of rich, globally-interconnected system for understanding and monitoring life on Earth. We know a lot about species, genetics, and ecology, but we can’t easily put this information together into a working knowledge system. This conference has given us a roadmap toward this goal.”
“Over the last quarter century, thousands of talented people have been working hard to bring essential biodiversity data onto the web. Much has already been achieved or is under development. GBIC has reinforced how important these activities are, and at the same time has outlined a path for us to build from where we are and deliver a rich globally-connected system for understanding and monitoring multiple aspects of biodiversity.”
— Donald Hobern, Executive Director, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)
The overarching goal is to support collaborative biodiversity observation on a global level so that short-term changes and longer-term trends can be identified and appropriate responses can be enabled.
Next steps include developing an “outlook document” that will prioritize biodiversity informatics in order to create forecasting and response capabilities like those used in forecasting the weather and detecting earthquakes.
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© Tony Leininger and IT for Good 2012. See sidebar for full copyright notice.
- What we know and don’t know about Earth’s missing biodiversity (sciencedaily.com)
- The Impact of Vanishing Biodiversity on Human Health (greenyourfuturenews.wordpress.com)
- “Map of Life” Project Aspires to Understand and Save World’s Biodiversity (it4good/wordpress.com)
- All the World’s Plants to Find a Digital Home Online (it4good/wordpress.com)